Extra virgin olive oil, also valuable for the gut microbiome


Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil can have beneficial effects on the gut microbiome, as well as in the prevention of noncommunicable diseases. This is the finding of a scientific review coordinated by the University of Valencia, Spain. (1)

A squeeze of beneficial substances

The benefits associated with the consumption of extra virgin olive oil are attributed to the presence of substances such as polyphenols, tocopherols and carotenoids, among others.

The subject of copious scientific literature, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in particular has shown positive action in inhibiting foodborne pathogens, stimulating the growth of health-promoting microorganisms and promoting antioxidant activity.

Valencia’s study offers a systematic review of the most recent scientific publications on the subject, with examination of the mechanisms involved in promoting health benefits.

The researchers conclude that regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil can indeed:

– result in some positive effects on the gut microbiota,

prevent cardiovascular disease due to high levels of valuable bioactive components including phenolic compounds (oleocanthal, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and oleuropein aglycone) and the presence of useful, highly bioavailable carotenoids such as provitamin A, β-carotene and lutein,

– can be helpful in preventing cancer and type 2 diabetes.

A summation of benefits which leads researchers to state that ”consumption of olive oil, particularly the extra virgin type, can be recommended not only for its healthy fatty acid profile (particularly oleic acid) but also for the valuable positive effects on human health of its bioactive components‘.

(1) Mohsen Gavahian, José M.Lorenzo, Paulo E. S. Munekata, Izaskun Garcia-Mantrana, Amin Mousavi Khaneghah, Antonio J. Meléndez-Martínez, Francisco J. Barba. (2019). Health benefits of olive oil and its components: Impacts on gut microbiota antioxidant activities, and prevention of noncommunicable diseases. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 88, June 2019, pages 220-227, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2019.03.008

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".